by Frank Roger
Oswald slammed on the brakes when he noticed the diner. It had been a long drive and he was hungry and thirsty. The place was called The Carnivore, and a sign read “serving the unusual to the intrepid”.
Inside a bunch of bikers and other heavy types were eating, drinking, talking or gazing at smartphone screens. Heavy music came spilling from the speakers. A dog was lying in a corner, occasionally getting up and going around the place, then returned to his corner.
He took a seat, ordered today’s special and a beer and waited. A little while later the waiter brought him his drink and a big plate with a large piece of meat, a sausage and a heap of mashed potatoes. Although he was quite hungry, this amount of food was too much for him. He ate the meat and most of the potatoes, and downed the beer in a few big gulps.
When the dog came to his table and looked up expectantly, he took the sausage and offered it to the animal. The dog wagged his tail, sniffed at the sausage but didn’t take it and returned to his corner. Oswald didn’t understand. What was wrong with the sausage? Or with the dog?
As the waiter came to clear the table, he said: “I didn’t eat the sausage, so I gave it to the dog, but he didn’t want it. Is there something wrong with it?”
“Not at all,” the waiter replied. “It’s just that the dog isn’t into cannibalism.”
“What?” Oswald exclaimed. “Don’t tell me you’re serving dog here!”
“Didn’t you read what we’re serving and to whom?” the waiter explained.
“But dog?” Oswald just couldn’t believe it. Was this some kind of sick joke?
“Among other things,” the waiter said. “The dog sniffed, recognised the smell and decided to pass. No cannibalism for him, whereas you didn’t seem to have any problems with it.”
“I beg your pardon?” Now Oswald was about to lose his self-control.
“You ate that piece of meat, didn’t you? You didn’t recognise it for what it was and went ahead. Now that’s no problem here at the Carnivore, but please show some respect for a dog with high moral standards.”
Oswald paid and left without saying one more word. The dog shot him an accusing stare. Was he relieved to see that damned cannibal go?
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Frank Roger was born in 1957 in Ghent, Belgium. His first story appeared in 1975. Since then his stories appear in an increasing number of languages in all sorts of magazines and anthologies, and since 2000, story collections are published, also in various languages. Apart from fiction, he also produces collages and graphic work in a surrealist and satirical tradition. They have appeared in various magazines and books. His work is a blend of genres and styles that can best be described as “frankrogerism”, an approach of which he is the main representative. By now he has a few hundred short stories to his credit, published in more than 40 languages.
2 thoughts on “Today’s Special”
I enjoyed the witty tweak on dog eat dog morality, and the implied invocation of Mark Twain’s reminder, “Man is the only animal that blushes–or needs to.” AGB
Funny story. The health department would close that place down pronto. Or maybe they killed the health inspector and served him up as the Blue Plate Special.